Tricare is a health care program that covers active uniform service members, National guards and reserve members, retired service members, survivors, their family members, selected former spouses and any other person registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). The program serves a population of almost 9.5 million beneficiaries all over the world. The programs mission is to enhance the Department of Security and the entire Nation by providing health support for the full range of military operations and sustaining full health of all those entrusted to their care. The long-term vision of the program is to be a world-class health care system in support of the military mission through fostering, protection, sustenance, and restoration of health. The program contains many plans that ensure that every beneficiary gets quality health care appropriately.
For Tricare to achieve its mission and vision, it needs to have a comprehensive strategy to ensure that the quality health care services are available to the beneficiaries at an affordable price. Every health care program must be in line with the National health care reform. According to Dana (2010), the reforms are bound to increase health care costs, which will stress the taxpayers and employers to pay for increased demands for services while decreasing the reimbursements. As a result, health care programs require an unpalatable change so that the services are not restricted to some individuals and the quality of services remains the same (DANA, 2010). Tricare health care programs are not restrictive and have been set in such a way that the beneficiaries benefit starting from the primary care to the different premiums offered. Accommodative health care plans at Tricare ensure that the program serves the largest number of beneficiaries appropriately.
Access to primary care of the beneficiaries is also a strategy that the Tricare program employs to ensure its efficiency. Bodenheimer and Pham (2010) state that prompt and effective primary care is the backbone of all health care programs in the United States. The scholars add that primary care is experiencing a crisis due to lack of enough practitioners to provide it, thereby necessitating the need for more practitioners to tackle the crisis. In addition, individual practitioners capacity should be improved through an increase of working hours of the practitioners and the number of customers seen per hour (Bodenheimer and Pham (2010). Tricare program has increased primary care among its beneficiaries through the introduction of diverse plans that cater for all, according to their priorities and their level of income. Beneficiaries of the plans get to choose the appropriate plan from the range. Tricare also recognizes the beneficiaries who are unable to pay for the premium plans and gives them assistance, which lower the monthly premiums, making it affordable for everyone to have a comprehensive health plan.
The affordable care of 2010 requires that all health programs provide affordable health care programs for its beneficiaries. The act aims at making quality, affordable health insurance available to all citizens in both public and private programs. Tricare complies with this act through the minimum essential coverage for beneficiaries with low or no income. The program ensures that it provides direct care (care at military clinics and hospitals) for dependent parents or parents-in-law, officers or guards receiving treatment while in the line of duty and the service secretarial designee. These beneficiaries qualify automatically for a special tax exemption. The program also gives premium assistance to the beneficiaries, which lead to the health care cost cut. According to Clark et al. (2010), health care programs can offer quality health care to the beneficiaries without increasing the costs of the services. Different health care programs employ different cost-cutting strategies. Tricare cuts the cost of services through an effective communication, comprehensive covers, and increase in the number of different practitioners to attend to the beneficiaries and making their services available to the people through partnerships with other health care providers (regional contractors).
According to Dotson, Nuru-junter, and Brooks-Williams 2012, a culturally diverse leadership increases the operational returns in a health care program. Leadership diversity subsequently leads to a reduction in Health disparities. For this reason, there is a need for a culturally competent leadership, workforce in a health care institution. Tricare has managed to recruit a culturally competent workforce for efficient health care service delivery. Leadership has been divided into appropriate sub-categories for easier service delivery to the people. Diversity and categorization at Tricare sees to it that different departments are under different leaders. The performance of the programs is gauged first through the departments and then at a general level. For instance, Communication has been a key department through which Tricare has improved its services. In 2003, Dr Winkerwerder applauded Tricare's communication department saying that its efficiency would make a strong program (Tricare) even better by getting the word out on its services (Gilmore, 2003).
Platonova and Hernandez (2013) found out that human resource innovativeness is key to a sustained competitive advantage in a health care program. The research conducted on 168 Chief executive officers and 65 hospitals also found out that human resource strategies, inclusion in the strategic planning of the hospitals were very closely related to improving the general performance of the hospital. However, the human resource innovativeness was under used in US Hospital. This was despite the fact that the innovativeness would lead to increased performance of the hospital. Human resource practices such as finding talent, stressing the organizational values, during selection, compensating individuals for goal-oriented results and confidence intervals were the main components of human resource innovativeness. Tricare uses human resource innovativeness through stressing the organizations value, and during selection. The program therefore has a room for improvement in terms of inclusion of human resource innovativeness in the program strategy.
In conclusion, Tricare has made tremendous steps in ensuring that quality, affordable health care is available to its beneficiaries. The program provides primary care through the minimum essential coverage as well as making the premiums available to the beneficiaries through tax cuts and other services such as direct care. The program has also introduced diverse leadership to ensure its performance is at the best. Lastly, employs some human resource innovativeness practices, but needs to incorporate other practices such as confidence interval, incentives for goal-oriented results and finding talent to enhance its services to the beneficiaries. Tricare, however, remains a quality and affordable health care provider for its beneficiaries as well as an accountable care organization.
Bodenheimer, T., & Pham, H. H. (2010). Primary care: Current problems and proposed solutions. Health Affairs, 29(5), 799-805. Retrieved 3/18/2015 from the Trident Online Library.
Clark, D. D., F.A.C.H.E., Savitz, L. A., P.H.D., & Pingree, S. B. (2010). Cost cutting in health systems without compromising quality care. Frontiers of Health Services Management, 27(2), 19-30. Retrieved 3/18/2015 from the Trident Online Library.
Dotson, E., PhD., Nuru-Jeter, A., & Brooks-Williams, D. (2012). Setting the stage for a business case for leadership diversity in health care: History, research, and Leverage/PRACTITIONER APPLICATION. Journal of Health care Management, 57(1), 35-44; discussion 45-6. Retrieved 3/18/2015 from the Trident Online Library.
Gilmore, G. J. (2003, November 6). Communication Key in Making TRICARE Better, DoD Health Official Says. Retrieved from http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=27832
Kellis, Dana S,M.D., F.A.C.H.E., Rumberger, Jill S,PhD., M.B.A., & Bartels, B., F.A.C.H.E. (2010). Health care reform and the hospital industry: What can we expect? Journal of Health care Management, 55(4), 283-96; discussion 296-7. Retrieved on 3/18/2015 from the Trident Online Library.
Platonova, E. A., PhD., Hernandez, S. R., & Moorehouse, R. B. (2013). Innovative human resource practices in U.S. hospitals: An empirical study. Journal of Health care Management, 58(4), 290-301; discussion 302-3. Retrieved 3/18/2015 from the Trident Online Library.
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